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De Beers Launches App For Diamond Supply Chain Transparency

Diamond conglomerate De Beers is introducing another solution aimed at enhancing the transparency of diamond supply chains.

Reports in Reuters on Thursday (April 19) said De Beers has launched an app for small artisanal diamond miners in Sierra Leone to be able to track and certify diamonds. It’s the latest initiative by the company to address the issue of “blood diamonds” and a diamond supply chain notorious for facilitating the financing of crime and conflict across Africa.

The publication also noted that small-scale mining as a whole struggles with child labor and other illegal activity.

De Beers designed its app, Gemfair, with the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI). The solution is currently operating in pilot phase with small miners in Sierra Leone. Participating miners have to be licensed and meet certain standards for working environments, reports said. The app operates on a tablet and enables users to gain GPS data to identify where diamonds have been extracted from and is linked to a digital scale and tamper-proof bags to enhance security and reliability of the diamond trading process.

“The app we developed to address some of the key challenges in logging and validating, to allow artisanal production to be traced from the mine site all the way through to export,” said De Beers Vice President for Ethical Initiatives Feriel Zerouki in an interview with Reuters.

DDI, a nongovernmental organization, estimates as much as 20 percent of gem-quality diamond supplies are products from these small-scale miners around the world. These artisanal miners, reports noted, typically operate with cash and in dangerous conditions, making illicit and illegal activity in their supply chains more prominent and more difficult to trace.

Earlier this year, De Beers also announced plans to deploy blockchain technology to enhance the transparency of diamond supply chains and protect supply chain data.

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